Community service is a free work that is intended to help people in a particular community. It could also be referred to as a free work or service rendered by an individual person, group of people, an organisation or a corporate body towards the development or benefit of people in the community. It is one of the ways in which individuals, corporate bodies and organisations can impact positively in their society. Organisations and corporate bodies may engage in community service as a way to fulfill their social responsibilities while individuals may see it as a way to directly contribute to the growth and development of their immediate communities.
Community service is free and no compensation or payment is given to those involved in the service though food and small gift items may be given to participants occasionally. Its main objective is to help the needy such as the physically-challenged, aged, street children, prisoners or to improve public infrastructure like roads (filling of potholes), drainage clearing and cutting bushes in the surrounding environment, among others. Community service is usually organised by a local group like schools where students would have to engage in the service as part of their requirements for graduation, worship centres and non-profit organisations. For example, in Nigeria, all members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) must be a member of a Community Development Scheme (CDS), which performs a weekly or monthly community service throughout their one-year compulsory service.
Sometimes, community service may not be voluntary; it may be a verdict for a criminal offence committed or a verdict by a law court ordering the offender to engage in compulsory community service, it may also be a requirement by a school or an organisation for becoming a member of the organisation. However, community service has a lot of benefits. According to helpguide.org, some of the benefits include making one happy for engaging in community service ensures fulfillment in the sense that it gives an individual the opportunity of meeting people regularly and this helps in developing a solid support system, which in turn would serve as protection against depression. Gives a sense of confidence: Doing good for others gives a natural feeling of fulfillment, and the better one feels, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
Community service helps in career advancement, it gives the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace such as communication, task management, organization, teamwork and many more. It also gives a sense of purpose to those who are depressed, maybe as a result of losing a loved one, such persons can find a new meaning and direction in life by helping others through community service, which could help in taking their minds off their worries and also keep them mentally-engaged and stimulated. Another benefit is that it enables individuals to connect to the people in the community, thereby expanding their network of friendly relationships and also improves the already-acquired skills as they make use of them. It also brings fun and fulfillment to life when one does what he/she finds meaningful and interesting.